POETICS OF THE GAZE AND THE IDENTITY

BAT Alberto Cornejo, Moret Art, Zielinsky and Jorge Alcolea Galleries

 

If there is something especially captivating about the portrait genre, that it is the gaze. For some time the importance of the characters portrayed does not reside exclusively in symbols of power but in the ability to capture psychological essence achieved by the portraitist, being precisely the gaze that gives the portrayed greater psychic depth. In addition, when, the eyes of the portrayed figure look directly at the spectator, there is an astonishing tension, a kind of restlessness that requires dialogue, which exhibits provocation. The power of the gaze seems eternal as if it had a greater consistency able to expose the contained intimacies.

José Ramón Lozano

Sin Título (VI), 2019

Acrylic on canvas

170 x 190cm

However, if the gaze can reflect a person's state of mind in an exceptional way, it can also hide it, make it confusing and inaccessible to external eyes that try to penetrate it. To identify or not to identify, the gaze expresses at the same time unique beings for some, similar ones to others, transcendental or insignificant. Both from the moral and aesthetic standpoint, those portrayed who look at us, who look at us in reality from our contemplation of the present, create a direct tension with the past and identity. Always with a cryptic like air, as the portrait prooves what we shall never be, what we are at the time that the photograph was taken or the portrait was painted, that sense of Barthes’ "this has been", these images are predicting our end.

Lantomo

Dim light-dark sea 1, 2019

Graphite and pastel on paper glued to wood

100 x 73cm

Within the great proposal of the BAT Gallery Alberto Cornejo (Madrid) what precisely stands out is the portraiture genre. The women portrayed by José Ramón Lozano usually look at us very consciously, almost demanding that we contemplate and finish the story that they themselves have opened. They have something memorable, a turning point in a possible story of internalized solitude so often accompanied by pain. Very different are the portraits of Lantomo (Antonella Montes), more intimate, more reserved. While the use of graphite, watercolour and pastel is one of the reasons that explains that the figures acquire these characteristics, so is the fact that their characters do not always look at us, but are absorbed in their thoughts and do not require the empathy of the observer.

Mária Švarbová

No Diving, Smykacka, 2016

Photography

70 x 70cm

Marta Sánchez Luengo

Llegará, 2016

Bronze and iron

102 x 121cm

Another of the most outstanding portrait artists of our times is Mária Švarbová, a photographer from which the BAT gallery will present a selection of their individual and collective portraits. We attend the portrait of childhood and the beginning of adolescence in stages of meticulous harmony, of bodies so perfect and similar that touch the dreamlike fiction. On the other hand, the figures included by Marta Sánchez Luengo In their sculptures are much more than natural and close, they are realistic. In fact, their naturalistic way of modelling and the attitudes of their characters, as every day as reading a book, waiting for the underground or just walking around thinking, can certainly remind us of the realists from Madrid and especially of some pieces by the master Julio López Hernández. Leticia Felgueroso’s works could also relate to the realists because they share the passion for portraying the city of Madrid, although in the case of Felgueroso is through photography and intervened chromaticism.

Gustavo Díaz Sosa

De la serie de Revelaciones y Encrucijadas, 2019

Técnica mixta sobre madera. Cara A

200 x 140cm

In this daily work proper of the great metropolises, the contemporary society is also exposed very well: multitudes of people who move on full of worries and anxieties, between haste, jams and "deadlines". This guided mass is a topic that Gustavo Díaz Sosa tends to reflect in series such as "Burócratas y Padrinos", "Huérfanos de Babel" or the most recent "Revelaciones y Encrucijadas". The imposed social behaviours also removed from natural impulses, is a subject that also concerns Rubén Martín de Lucas, of whom a selection of the series "The Garden of Fukuoka" is presented, work in which the Guest Artist of this edition confronts industrial and natural processes.

The BAT proposal closes with the all rounded shapes of the sculptures by Carlos Albert and Carlos Iglesias, Madrid successors of the Basque School of sculpture; the most fluid and sensual works in aluminium by Rafael Amarós; and the matter and lyrical abstractions of Fernando Palacios.

Lino Lago

Fake Abstract (F. Boucher), 2019

Oil on canvas

160 x 150cm

Daniel Sueiras

Sir Kristoff Tar Toffen the 3rd, 2019

Oil on board

93 x 80cm

Watch and reveal, play with what is hidden and what is shown, is a very particular feature of the Lino Lago portraits, an artist who participates in Art Madrid with the Moret Art gallery (A Coruña). This gallery will also present some of the latest works by Daniel Subeiras, such as the painting "Sir Kristoff Tar Toffee the 3rd" (2019), where the author introduces us to the new addition to his ingenious and extensive gallery of portraits, notable for its humorous component and by his masterful control of the oil-on-board technique. Along with the work of Subeiras, a selection of the sculptural work by Iván Prieto is presented: pieces made from its technical characteristic-ceramics after painted with acrylics-in which contemporary bodies, always defective, without abandoning the crave of an impossible and imposed perfection, they are exaggeratedly distorted to the point of reaching surrealistic, extravagant, more beautiful forms.

Xurxo Gómez-Chao

Magnolia y calavera (Tempus fugit), 2018

Photography. Mineral pigments on Ilford Prestige paper 270 g

100 x 100cm

Moret Art will also include in its proposal the pieces by Miguel Piñeiro, contemporary still lifes of icons from the culture of our time, especially surprising for the high degree of hyperrealism; and the photographs by Xurxo Gómez-Chao, of which two of his lines of work are presented: on the one hand, a set of the beautiful vanitas stagings, and on the other, his more mystery images of rooms, in which a kind of mist seems to have evaporated the previous presence.

Pachi Santiago

Cerca desde lo masculino, 2012

Light box

42.5 x 32.5cm

Juan Fielitz

Desnudo III, 2018

Hahnemühle paper

120 x 74cm

Within the proposal of the Zielinsky Gallery (Barcelona) it is worth highlighting the work of Pachi Santiago, artist who offers the most explicit game around identity, gaze, codes of representation and appropriation, as we see in the broad project "Copying Claudia", in which the spectator can take part in the same feelings. The appropriation, manipulation and interest in the ways of portraying the human body, is something that he shares with the artist Juan Fielitz who, on the opposite, hides the faces or body parts that we would like to see from the portrayed. Thus, in these images collected in archives, the artist stripped the portrayed of his identity, offering in his final photomontages a poetic ensemble of enigmatic fragments.

Yamandú Canosa

Vértice, 2016

Oil on wood

47.2 x 40cm

Zielinsky will also expose the photographs by Eduardo Marco, in which an attentive and contemplative look allows us to repair in the beauty that so often goes unnoticed in the big city; surreal and pop worlds, full of winks in which to recognize ourselves, by Joaquín Lalanne; and the cartographies by Yamandú Canosa, metaphors of our being, of our way of living: at the end portraits of emotions that explain our displacement.

Eloy Morales

Figure 1, 2018

Oil on canvas

100 x 100cm

Some gazes are unique, such as those achieved by Eloy Morales in his huge portraits and self-portrait, that the Jorge Alcolea gallery will show. As the artist explains, for him "the important thing is to show through the work your way of seeing things and the way you present them to the spectator" always maintaining a deep concern for "the tremendous power of the image and its endless possibilities." Other gazes, equally interesting and perhaps more unfathomable, are those from the animal world, some like the bears that star in the latest works by Miguel Macalla.

Isidre Tolosa

Diarios, carpeta y libros, 2018

Mármol de calatorao y hierro

11 x 30cm

Jorge Alcolea's proposal is completed with the urban and nocturnal portraits by Carlos Azañedo, those in which the postmodern city never stops never sleeps and each one of us is only "another one". Also in its stand you will be able to see the realistic sculptures by Isidre Tolosa, personal objects like books or diaries that, likewise, can be the best portraits of ourselves because of everything so personal that they reveal; and the paintings by Isabel Ramoneda, free and careless abstractions on paper accompanied by handwritten thoughts.

Multiple gazes for multiple identities; always open works, eternally expectant in front of the possible gaze of the spectator: these are some of the works that can be enjoyed in the new edition of Art Madrid.

 

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.